There are, as many opinions about what “the truth” is, as there are people on this earth; we hear them all the time in art, in drama, in media and especially in music. Perhaps there are even more opinions about love within the realm of music. Fortunately for R&B fans, Ledisi’s seventh studio album The Truth is a simple, yet refreshing statement on the various stages of love. It is the testament of someone who’s isn’t necessarily wishing for it as much as someone whose heart has yet to be broken; it’s from someone who has been through it, who has “lived” it, and continues to do so, that we might be able to learn a little bit about it for ourselves.
The New Orleans born-and-bred R&B veteran gives us a great start into her journal of experiences in love with “I Blame You” – a bright and upbeat track with a throwback 90’s feel (think early Chante Moore) that wraps up the first stages of love in a pretty little package. You’ve been seeing someone for a little while, and you’re really feeling them (and yourself as a side effect), into them, thinking that this just might work out. You’re thinking about them constantly, and the thought of them makes you smile more, puts more spring into your step, and people start noticing a change. “I Blame You” is the soundtrack to what you’re probably feeling. The lyrics pretty much say it all:
“When they look at me / What they fail to see / Is the love you got me feeling / Like I’m dancing on the ceiling / I can hardly breathe / ‘Cause you’re all I need / So when they ask me why I’m smiling like a fool / I blame you”
“I Blame You”:
On the flipside, when the love that’s been making you happy for so long starts to slip away, there’s no denying how it makes you feel. The end of a relationship is probably one of the most powerful forces in writing music (think about it– how many artists caught a creative streak and furiously wrote songs once they weren’t in love anymore?), and it’s no exception here. Two songs in particular stand out – “88 Boxes” and the titular track “The Truth“.
The latter sees Ledisi realize that the love she’s given is no longer enough to sustain and maintain, and now she must face the truth in telling her partner the case. With a great baseline – possibly the most musically noticeable aspect of this song, as it speaks almost as much as the lyrics do – and a hip-swinging beat, this might be the grooviest break-up song ever. “88 Boxes” is a testament to another relationship that is summed up in the amount of space a relationship can take in one’s life (hence the title of 88 boxes needed to move out of a shared living space) – and the gaping hole it can leave after the love is gone, especially if the one you’re leaving doesn’t fight to make you stay.
Ledisi doesn’t let us go without imparting a little more truth by providing some great advice in the form of the song “Can’t Help Who You Love“. A quaint wrap-up to all of the scenarios that we just heard while listening to the album, the song tells us to know ourselves, but also to know when the heart is speaking to us and that it can’t really be controlled, much as we’d like to do so. “The heart’s just got a brain of it’s own“, she sings… And if you’ve ever been in love, you just might agree.
“Can’t Help Who You Love”:
The Truth feels overall like a peek in the journal of your older sister who’s been through the ups and downs that a relationship can bring, and just might make you aware of what to expect if you find yourself in the same situation. Only this time, it’s set to a well-produced and great sounding musical journey, and has you snapping your singers, nodding your head, or even just sitting still and taking the music all in. Way more entertaining and useful than yet another self-help dating book – and that’s the truth.
Purchase: Ledisi – The Truth (iTunes)
Words by June Findlay // Edited by Ayo Adepoju